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    dkirschner's The Norwood Suite (PC)

    [July 26, 2020 01:00:14 PM]
    This is a more coherent, yet slightly less eccentric, follow-up to Off-Peak (free on Steam, totally worth poking around in). Overall, I think I liked Off-Peak better, partly because this one added, you know, actual game mechanics, but they're bare bare bones. This would have been better if the game retained the eccentricity of its predecessor. However, I was generally bored by the long conversations and most characters, while interesting in relation to Peter Norwood and the Norwood Hotel, were less interesting on their own.

    You get dropped off at the Norwood Hotel, where a well-known local DJ is performing a hot basement party. As you explore the hotel and talk to its guests, they will make requests of you. Nearly all requests are "bring me this item." You do that and, usually, along the way or upon completion, are given some other piece of a puzzle you need to meet someone else's request or that pushes the final puzzles (play a melody on a piano and make a costume for the dance party) farther along. The goal of the game is to get into the dance party, but really it's about exploring this strange old hotel and learning about deceased (?) pianist Peter Norwood, his life, his music, and his colleagues.

    I mentioned the disconnect for me was, oddly, the narrative coherence, but in relation to the new fetch quests to push the story forward. There is never any follow-up for the "find me this" tasks. So for example, if a guests gives you a key to his room and asks you to bring you his dancing shoes, you will go to his room and find some other item you need, but no dancing shoes. The task is simply a means for you to find something else and not to get to know this character who needs dancing shoes. Often they will say something like, "...and you can keep whatever else you find," which drives the point home. It's weird how much attention is paid to the larger setting and narrative, but how little is paid to most individual characters' requests fitting into it. This is how characters in Off-Peak were, but then it was fine because there was a really loose narrative, so you didn't expect most characters to fit into it very much, and they didn't ask you to do things; you just talked to them. Since they ask you for things here, I would expect them to be more significant.

    Anyway, minor gripe really. There's more great music, plenty of cool and weird artwork to look at, and it's quite pretty in places. Worth a look around if you like Off-Peak and can get it for really cheap. I saw that the developer, Cosmo D, recently released another game set in the same universe (I think you can see the setting of Off-Peak in the distance from Norwood Hotel), so I'm certainly intrigued.
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    dkirschner's The Norwood Suite (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 25 July, 2020

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 26 July, 2020

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Jazzy surrealist bliss, now with an inventory and opening drawers. -------- Neat story, a little dull. Enjoyed the mystery.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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